28 October, 2008

The New York Times is Like That Friend That You Hate

Well, the NYT has, hilariously, done it again with their dismissal of people with fibromyalgia--this time, in a troubling article entitled "Half of All Doctors Routinely Prescribe Placebos".

But when asked how he treated fibromyalgia or other conditions that many doctors suspect are largely psychosomatic, Dr. Schreiber changed his mind. “The problem is that most of those people are very difficult patients, and it’s a whole lot easier to give them something like a big dose of Aleve,” he said. “Is that a placebo treatment? Depending on how you define it, I guess it is.”

Yeah, sorry we're interrupting your golf game with our neediness, Dr. Arrogant. Aleve also happens to contain naproxen, which is commonly used in anti-inflammatory medications used to treat arthritis. The problem is that anti-inflammatory meds do not usually work work on people with fibromyalgia. Not only does Dr. Schreiber apparently need more info on fibromyalgia, but he paints those who have the condition with a very broad stroke. Nice.

Also, if you're just prescribing placebos left and right and don't actually want to help people, why on Earth are you a doctor?

In my un-humble opinion, the Times is a bit like that friend you hang out with, but whom you find as annoying as all get-out. Sure, he's got occasional flashes of insight, but most of the time, you hate hanging out with him because he's either arrogant, dismissive, or totally hammered--and more often, he's all three of these wrapped up into one awful package. But you feel sorry for him. You want him to be a better person, and you suspect that his other friends either encourage his stupidity or don't notice. So you keep hanging out with him, in the hopes that you might have some sort of tiny effect, even though you probably don't.


ouyangdan said...

Ugh! That is horrible!

We have a family friend who is a doctor (whom I wish could be my doctor but I am not willing to move to Nevada) and he tells me that your doctor should be like the quarterback of your medical team w/ fibro patients. He said were he my doctor he would make sure to have me seen by the right specialists and make sure that everyone was on board to take care of me the best way he could. His approach would be a whole body care, including some herbalists/holistic practitioners, chiro care, and med management.

I am so sick of being shoved away w/ a handful of useless pills (that barely take care of the headaches they can't explain), and told that all I really need are anti-depressants. They don't want to help us, they want to shut us up. Too bad that I am willing to read and do research. If that makes me a difficult patient, so be it. It's my life and body they are refusing to care for.

Oop! Didn't mean to rant so. I haven't had much luck medically lately. Good to see you online and such! Take care!

lauredhel said...

“Is that a placebo treatment? Depending on how you define it, I guess it is.”

Uh? You mean, like, if you define it as something other than what it actually means?

Candace D said...

Oh Anna, I couldn't agree more! What's even more disappointing is that I almost hear no compassion whatsoever. I know I don't suffer from anything I would consider a disability but I do live in an area where there is an extreme shortage (we have to pay Swedish and Danish doctors extra just so that they'll work part time in Northern Norway) of doctors and my appointments have always ended up being short,frustrating, and a few times I walked out in tears.

I would be so irritated and slightly frightened knowing that someone wasn't taking my pain/illness seriously and not doing everything they could within their means. I know we can't except a perfect medical system, but why on earth publish something like this? I suppose people just deserve to be further ostracized and should accept the advice and opinions that taking a few pills should shut them up. ACH!